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Tracking your wellness
By Nick Burklow

When it comes to your personal health and wellness, a lot of questions and information are involved. What did I eat for dinner? Where is that insurance information? What medications am I currently taking? When was that knee surgery? Google is set to help you keep track of that information with Google Health.

It's been around for about two years now, and with its most recent overhaul, I think it's ready for prime time.

Google Health is all about organizing, tracking and monitoring your heath and wellness. It puts you in control of your health-care information and gives you a central location to view it.

You can customize it any way you like. If you prefer, you can track your body-mass index, gym workouts, sleep patterns and other exercise information - to maximize your triathlon training, for example.

The revamped Google Health makes it easy to set and track your wellness goals. Treat it like a wellness diary by updating your progress daily. There's even a space for journal entries.

To assist with generating the data needed to properly track your fitness, Google has partnered with Fitbit and Cardio Trainer. Fitbit is a wearable gadget that tracks your steps taken, calories burned and sleep patterns and then automatically uploads the data. Cardio Trainer is a smartphone application that uses the GPS and accelerometer in your phone to help generate data from your workout.

Google Health can do much more than just track your workout progress. There are places to input allergy information, current medications and insurance information, and you can even upload your own files. If you don't see a category you need, you can make your own custom tracker.

All of these records are updated by the user, and most display charts or graphs over time to show your progress.

If you ever find yourself being caretaker of a friend or family member, you'll be glad to know that Google Health allows you to add multiple profiles. Imagine how much easier it would be to keep up with your aunt Petunia's medication schedule, insurance contacts and doctors' information using Google Health.

Do you have a need to share health-care information with others? Google has you covered there, too. Simply click the "share" option once you have logged in, and you can choose who has access to your Google Health profile. I know the mention of sharing health-care information with others can sound scary, but Google Health is very secure. You are in control of who sees it. 

With this recent update, Google has taken an already useful tool and made it even more powerful.

Google Health is a one-stop shop for all your wellness organizational needs. With its measurable and engaging setup, Google Health makes it even easier to keep your health on track.

Nick's Pick: MakerBot Thing-O-Matic
Have you ever been sitting in the doctor's office looking at the MRI scan of your brain, thinking, "Man, that is cool. I wish I had a 3D version." Yeah, me neither, but now it's possible to get that 3D version of your brain on the cheap, thanks to MakerBot and their Thing-O-Matic. (Yes, those really are the names.)

The Thing-O-Matic is a do-it-yourself 3D printer - also known as a fully automatic rapid prototyping machine. The Thing-O-Matic's print head is a MakerBot MK5 plastruder. It works by printing thin layers of melted plastic, which allows endless possibilities of objects you can print.

MakerBot will gladly sell you the kit needed to build this 3D printer for $1,225. You can order yours at store.makerbot.com. You'll also find a complete list of specifications there.


Story published Friday, November 5, 2010 ( Volume 5, Number 6 )

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